The GOP is at it again. Both the McCain campaign and the RNC have used some very slimy math techniques along with maliciously false claims to try to run up a huge number of Obama votes for tax increases.
This is nothing new for the GOP. FactCheck.org debunked a similar claim the GOP made against Senator Kerry back in 2004. Back the claims ran all over TV but the lies and misleading parts of that claim were never properly exposed at the time.
The President misled voters and reporters in a March 20 speech when he claimed that Kerry “voted over 350 times for higher taxes on the American people” during his 20-year Senate career. Bush spoke of “yes” votes for “tax increases.”
But in fact, Kerry has not voted 350 times for tax increases, something Bush campaign officials have falsely accused Kerry of on several occasions. On close examination, the Bush campaign’s list of Kerry’s votes for “higher taxes” is padded. It includes votes Kerry cast to leave taxes unchanged (when Republicans proposed cuts), and even votes in favor of alternative Democratic tax cuts that Bush aides characterized as “watered down.”
They are using the same technique this time to try to make it look like Senator Obama has voted to increase taxes every time he has had the chance. Just like in 2004, the math used is not remotely accurate and takes huge stretches of one’s imagination to come up with the inflated “94 votes” they claim.
The McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee both claim that Obama has voted 94 times “for higher taxes.” We find that their count is padded.
After looking at every one of the 94 votes that the RNC includes in its tally, we find:
- Twenty-three were for measures that would have produced no tax increase at all; they were against proposed tax cuts.
- Seven of the votes were in favor of measures that would have lowered taxes for many, while raising them on a relative few, either corporations or affluent individuals.
- Eleven votes the GOP is counting would have increased taxes on those making more than $1 million a year – in order to fund programs such as Head Start and school nutrition programs, or veterans’ health care.
- The GOP sometimes counted two, three and even four votes on the same measure. We found their tally included a total of 17 votes on seven measures, effectively padding their total by 10.
- The majority of the 94 votes – 53 of them, including some mentioned above – were on budget measures, not tax bills, and would not have resulted in any tax change. Four other votes were non-binding motions related to conference report negotiations.
It’s true that most of the votes the GOP counts would either have increased taxes for some, or set budget targets calling for such increases. But by repeating their inflated 94-vote figure, the McCain campaign and the GOP falsely imply that Obama has pushed indiscriminately to raise taxes for nearly everybody. A closer look reveals that he’s voted consistently to restore higher tax rates on upper-income taxpayers but not on middle- or low-income workers. That’s consistent with what he’s said he’d do as president, which is to raise taxes only on those making more than $250,000 a year.